A hometown newspaper with a local office, local owners & lots of local news

Jay Cooke swinging bridge is star of free Parks Day

During Great Outdoors Month, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering special programs and incentives to encourage Minnesotans to get outdoors. The DNR will host a Free Park Day on Saturday, June 8, which allows free entrance to all state parks and recreation areas in Minnesota.

The DNR this week announced special programming Saturday and all summer at Jay Cooke State Park as it celebrates the 100th year since the creation of the swinging bridge over the St. Louis River there. A naturalist will be in the area of the bridge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday to share stories and photos about the river and the bridge. There will be special half-hour presentations at 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m.

The DNR also announced this week that the park is also preparing to make accessibility upgrades with funds approved by the 2023 Minnesota Legislature. The project includes adding an all-terrain track chair for use in the park and improvements to the Oldenburg Point trail.

In other state outdoors news:

In addition to offering popular activities such as hiking, biking, camping, swimming, paddling and birding, a variety of state park interpretive programs are open to all visitors. Most interpretive programs are free, but some require registration.

The annual Take a Kid Fishing weekend will be celebrated June 7-9. Minnesotans 16 or older who take a child 15 or younger fishing don't need a fishing license.

June 8-9 is also a no-registration riding weekend on motorized state and Grant-in-Aid trails. This weekend allows Minnesotans with all-terrain vehicles registered for private or agricultural use to ride public trails without paying the registration fee.